The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University is one of the nation's leading schools of public policy, offering undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees in public policy and international development policy. Terry Sanford, then president of Duke University, and also the former Governor of North Carolina (1961-65) and United States Senator (1987-1993), established the school in 1972 as the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs. In 2009 it became Duke's tenth school.
Sanford's goals were to educate future leaders, to connect research to practice, and to improve the quality of public policymaking. Sanford urged students to set "outrageous ambitions"— a call to action remains at the core of the school's identity. Sanford graduates bring a creative, entrepreneurial approach to problem solving, along with quantitative and qualitative analytic skills and the ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders to craft policy solutions. They build careers in government, in business and in the nonprofit sector.
U.S. News and World Report ranks the school's master's degree program in the top 10 for public policy analysis, environmental policy, social policy and health policy. MPP candidates may choose to pursue joint professional degrees in law, business, medicine or environmental policy. The PhD program began in 2007 and awarded its first doctorate in 2012. The undergraduate program is among the nation's largest, with about 200 graduates each year.
The Sanford School's accomplished, multidisciplinary faculty includes 11 scholars who hold distinguished chairs and four who have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Kelly Brownell, a public health expert who helped revolutionize thinking about the complex causes of obesity and coined the phrase “toxic food environment,” is the school's dean. The 69 core faculty members represent numerous academic fields including public policy, economics, political science, history, psychology, medicine, health policy, international development, and population studies.
The faculty also includes distinguished practitioners from government, law, diplomacy, journalism, international development, and public health. They have been top officials in U.S. agencies, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the World Bank, and India's Administrative Service. Some have led international NGOs and major foundations. Among them are former senior civilian attorney for the U.S. Army Tom Taylor, U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Billy Pizer, and Washington Post Managing Editor Phil Bennett.
An interdisciplinary spirit is a hallmark of the Sanford School and a number of multidisciplinary research centers and programs operate under the auspices of the Sanford School. They include the Duke Center for International Development, a large and active organization that oversees a graduate degree program, provides on-site executive education for government officials from around the world, and provides tailored consulting services to government agencies in developing nations. Other centers include the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy; Hart Leadership Program; the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society; and the Program on Global Health and Technology Access. Also affiliated with the school are research centers focused on energy, health policy, child and family policy, terrorism and security studies.